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How To Improve Your Health When You Have A Desk Job
By now, it's safe to say we all know that to stay healthy, we need to move our bodies and avoid long periods of sitting.
Staying active will help your body and mind stay young. Long periods of sitting can be hard to avoid if you have a job in an office or do most of your work seated.
Think about it. How many hours a day are you seated? At your desk, driving, watching TV.... it adds up quickly!!
Why is sitting so bad?
Many research studies have explored the health effects sitting has on human health. And long periods of sitting have been linked to several serious health concerns.
Health concerns associated with sitting include:
- Increased blood pressure
- High blood sugar
- Extra fat around in the body and around the belly and waist
Extended periods of sitting increase the chances of death from cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Long periods of sitting at a desk are just one part of staying healthy. Desk work also causes us to ignore and put off other healthy habits like staying hydrated.
It's safe to say if you are working at a desk, a computer or electronic screen is sure to be involved. Long periods in front of screen ALSO has adverse health effects.
Effects of prolonged screen time include:
- Dry eyes
- Blurred vision
- Sleep problems
- Adverse mental effects (depression and anxiety)
- Chronic neck and back pain
However, just because you have a desk job that doesn't mean you have to be unhealthy. It just means that we have to practice awareness and actively take steps to stay active and healthy.
With that in mind, here are some helpful tips on how to improve your health when you have a desk job.
Drink More Water
If you have a desk job, likely, you are not drinking enough water. When you have a day packed with meetings and deadlines, hydration might be the last thing on your mind. But this is when hydration is even more critical.
In fact, drinking enough water can increase your alertness, improve your attention span, and even improve your focus.
Dehydration could also cause feelings of hunger and cravings. Before you reach for a snack, reflect on the amount of water you have been drinking. It could be your body's way of telling you that it needs hydration. A great way to incorporate more liquid in your body is to eat foods with high water content. This can include fruits and veggies: yogurt, a piece of fruit, or a smoothie that includes whey protein powder.
Here are a few helpful tips to keep you hydrated throughout your day:
Keep a water bottle at your desk and make goals on how much water to drink at certain times during the day. Try to drink a certain amount by your lunch break, and then a certain amount before leaving the office. The Life Bottle is a 1-gallon water bottle you can keep at your desk.
You can check out the Life Bottle on Amazon.
Set an alert on your phone to remind you to drink water. Or just a smartphone app to set goals and track your drinking habits.
Use a "smart" water bottle to track your hydration habits. HidrateSpark is a "smart" water bottle with an app that can track your drinking habits, alert you with reminders, and calculate how much water you should drink.
Sitting in one position for hours at a time is bad for your health. Not only does it lead to obesity, but it also leads to other adverse health conditions. Conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, blood clots, and even diabetes, to name just a few. Try to get up and move at least once an hour.
Getting up from your desk every 60 minutes and walking around the office goes a long way towards improving your health.
Standing up, walking, or even just stretching will improve your circulation. It can also clear your mind to be more productive when you get back to work.
Some office workers like to use a standing desk too. A standing desk means you won't be sitting for hours. At the same time, you also don't have to stand the whole day; you can adjust it and stand for between 15 and 30 minutes each hour.
Desk fitness equipment is another great way to stay active and move your body while seated. I have the Cubii Pro under-desk elliptical that I use periodically throughout my day.
When you think of your health, you'll probably think of your weight and fitness level and whether you are at risk of developing any particular conditions and illnesses. But with hours spent in front of a computer screen, your eyes could be suffering the conciseness.
Computer use is a widespread cause of eyestrain.
Symptoms of computer eye strain include:
- blurred vision
- Dry eyes
- Neck and shoulder pain
If you work at a desk and use a computer or other electronic screen, here are a few self-care tips that can help reduce the strain on your eyes.
The 20-20-20 rule
Take breaks from looking at a computer screen by using the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at an object that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Blink to refresh and moisten your eyes. Try to make it a habit to blink more often while you are looking at a monitor.
Adjust your screen
Making slight adjustments to your settings can help reduce eye strain and create a more comfortable working environment. Examples of adjustments you could make include enlarging the type settings for easier reading, adjusting the screen's brightness and color contrast levels.
Reduce Blue Light
Blue light is known for causing damage to the eyes and even affecting sleep patterns. To combat the damage you might be doing to your eyes with your screen usage, you can invest in blue light glasses.
Blue light glasses use filters to block the blue light emitted from your computer screen and other electronic light.
I hope you found these tips helpful! If you have suggestions of your own, please comment below!
Photo by Nicole Wolf on Unsplash
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